Posted by authorcamilson
Serpents and Doves
by G. Lloyd Helm
GENRE: Literary Fiction
Stephen Mitchell did not know what he was getting into at a small church college in Tennessee. Sex, protest, friendship, and Civil rights. The title “Serpents and Doves” comes from the warning Jesus gave to his disciples as he sent them out to preach the gospel, knowing the dangers they were going into. He said “I send you out as sheep among wolves, therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Stephen Mitchell learns first-hand what that warning means when he goes to a Tennessee church college in the midst of the turbulent 60’s. He learns about friendship, war, protest, the sexual revolution, and civil rights.
Ethan’s suicide rocked the school, but not nearly as much as Stephen expected. The New Jersey and New York folks mostly didn’t know anything about Ethan or the BSU so they noted the suicide as a bit of news, but it didn’t effect them much. There was some anti-homosexual noise and the inevitable nasty jokes, but Ethan Patrick’s passing caused no more than a ripple for the most part.
There was some noise and protest from the Mason First Baptist Church when Billie Jo asked them to hold the funeral service, but finally they said they would bury him, but not in the church cemetery. They ignored the fact of his suicide and the reasons for it and held a small service. Stephen debated with himself whether he should go. He had about decided not to when Cathy Powell cornered him and asked if he would go with her. “I really don’t have the strength Steve,” she said. “I’m just a wreck. Can’t you please come with me?”
Stephen seriously thought about saying, Why don’t you go ask David Hall? But didn’t say it. “All right. I’ll meet you at the church.”
She smiled sadly, but Stephen thought he saw just the smallest glimmer of triumph in it.
The coffin was set across the aisle in front of the altar. Closed. It was silvery gray and looked more like a large tin can than a coffin. The congregation was small, mostly people from the BSU but a few from Beacon’s faculty including Dr. Conners and Dr. Marchant. Having the Pope there was no surprise. Probably here to make sure the sumbitch is really dead, Stephen thought, and then felt bad about thinking it.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
G. Lloyd Helm has been writing for 40 years, having published poetry in a wide variety of magazines and newspapers including “The New York Poetry Anthology,” “Stars and Stripes News,” “The Los Angeles Times,” “The Antelope Valley Press,” and “The Antelope Valley Anthologies,” among others.
… Has published short stories and memoirs both in the US and in England in such journals as “Pligrimage” which published the memoir “Football” in spring 2005, and a second memoir “4 April, 1968” in the winter of 2008. He has published short stories in “Citadel” the literary magazine of Los Angeles City College,” “Delivered Magazine,” which is based in London, “Short Story Library,” The University of S. Illinois’ “Eureka Literary Magazine,” “Tales as like as not,” and London’s “Black Gate Magazine.” Recently published “Even Up” a Civil War Ghost story at http://www.ruthlesspeoples.com, an English on line magazine, and the short story “A Lovely Elephant” in “Delivered Magazine” an English fiction journal. “The Other Fellows Shoes,” Pulp Empire III, Metahuman Press, Cedar Rapids, IA Nov. 2010. Is being published in an on line experiment from Alfie Dog Publishing in England. May 2012.
…Has published three novels in the F&SF field, 1) OTHER DOORS, From MousePrints Publishing, and 2) DESIGN from American Star. 3) WORLD WITHOUT END from Rogue Phoenix Press, www.roguephoenixpress.com
OTHER DOORS, originally published in 1997, was published electronically by Rogue Phoenix Press in July 2010. Also Published a literary Romance novel called SOMETIMES IN DREAMS, from Siren’s call. Most recently a volume of short stories called TRAIN WHEELS, FLYING SAUCERS, AND THE GHOST OF TIBURCIO VASQUEZ. Many of these stories appear on the Alfie Dog site.
…Is in process of publishing an adult literary novel called SERPENTS AND DOVES with Rogue Phoenix Press, which will be out in May 2016.
G. Lloyd Helm will be awarding 10 paperback copies of the book to10 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. (international giveaway)
Thanks for being my guest today. Tell us about you.
Me as a person is pretty much what you see is what you get. Unusual is that I spent twenty two years as an Air Force Spouse, which was pretty strange. When we went in there were less than half a dozen reversed couples in the Air Force, that is wife as active duty, husband as dependant. It’s pretty common now, but when we were in there were things like “The Enlisted Wives Club.” Because of me and a few others those are now called “The Enlisted Spouses club.” Other things are that I am rather a grouch. When I am out in public I usually keep my grouch-a-tude to myself but if you catch me at home and busy working you are liable to get your head bitten off.
If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
There are a couple, but I would love to hang out with Mark Twain. He seems like my kind of guy. He is witty and sharp but he can also be cutting and bitter. He’s a pretty good writer too.
What’s the story behind your latest book?
Serpents and Doves is me trying to sort out a piece of my life that was like the Chinese Curse, “May you live in interesting times.” They were interesting times OK, between the Vietnam war, the protests of same, the Civil Rights movement, and the Sexual Revolution the sixties were pretty hairy. I was somewhat shielded from it by being in a small church college, but not completely.
What is your writing process?
My process is pretty simple–get off your ass and go to work. That being said, the major difficulty with it is that sometimes defeating the inertia that infects me is pretty tough. I don’t know why it is sometimes so hard for me to actually work. I know it will make me feel better, less depressed, but I sometimes resist it like a baby fighting sleep. When I actually win the battle against inertia I like to listen to old time rock and roll radio. We have a great radio station for that here in the Antelope Valley. They play everything from the Fifties through the seventies.
Tell us about your main character
The Protagonist in Serpents and Doves is basically me. The situations into which Stephen goes are fiction but they are fiction with some of the colors of truth. He is a naive church boy who discovers how naive he is when he gets to college. He has some incipient prejudices about race, and church and sexuality which collapse in the face of reality as the story progresses.
If your book was to be turned into a movie, who would play the lead role and why.
I don’t really know. It would need to be a younger actor than there is out there right now. Fresh faced and open. Leo DeCaprio would have been good a few years ago but he is too old now, and I don’t really know any others at the moment
What are you working on next?
I am working on a couple of things right now. The main one is a movie script taken from my first novel Other Doors. It is a fantasy but of a very different kind. It is a story about a man who can stop war by simply saying STOP! It is set in a world of ancient war like ancient Rome where the battles are with sword and spear. But that world and this one resist peace and achieving more and more peace in that world causes the world to fall out of balance, nevertheless the peace grows and infects the whole world. When the book first came out there was resistance. So much that I finally had to put a publishing company together and publish it myself. Since it came out in 1996 I have sold hundreds of them on Military bases. I am proud to say that my little book about peace has gone to every war zone in the world. And I know it has because I am constantly running into uniformed strangers who greet me with “Peace be with you,” which is a tag line in the book. But at the same time I am both shocked and Proud that my little book about Peace has been banned from the federal prison system libraries. It causes “Unrealistic fantasization in the reader,” like that’s a bad thing.
What advice do you have for other writers who want to get the word out about their book?
That’s a hard one. Personally I am a huge bore when it comes to my books. I talk about them constantly and I always have copies at hand. I also do a lot of Book Fairs, and gift shows and swap meets and like that. The trouble is that a lot of writers are shy so they stay in the house and write, but if you want to actually get some books out there you gotta be bold enough to go out and offer it to people. If they don’t know about it they won’t buy it.
What is your favorite book on your shelf right now?
The Complete Ray Bradbury. It is a compilation of his short stories.
Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
No, though there are those who say I have a knack for getting myself into remarkably difficult situations and irritating even the most phlegmatic person in the world.
You are given the choice of one super power. What super power would you have and why?
Telepathy. To read peoples thoughts and send them my thoughts without necessity of saying or writing same. Actually in one of my books Design I list several super powers I would like to have, among them teleportation and telekinesis, as well as telepathy.
List 5 things on your bucket list:
My bucket list is pretty short really. I’ve been a lot of places and done a lot of things many of them bucket list worthy. The things I have left are mostly travel related. I want to go to Japan, and China. I’d like to do the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. I’d like to hike a pretty good stretch of the Pacific Coast trail and the Appalachian trail. Those might have been realistic goals once but I sorta doubt that the hikes will ever happen now.
Where can readers find you on the web?
I am on Face Book as G.L. Helm or under my publishing imprimatur Mouseprint. I answer most friend requests positively. Or those interested can e mail me at email@example.com. The books are available through Rogue Phoenix Press, as well as on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Any final thoughts?
No Valedictory, sorry. Thank you for allowing me to ramble on here. Feel free to contact me.
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